Posted by Dave
The subject nature of this blog is remarriage and blended families. At its core, getting married again and shaping your new family has happened because of a divorce. No matter when or how it happens, divorce hurts. Even when good comes from a divorce, there are lifelong implications. Anyone involved in a divorce as a spouse or as a child (I’ve experienced it both ways) will be the first to acknowledge this. It never really goes away, however, it can be a turning point to a better future. The key to a successful remarriage is learning the things about yourself that caused the previous divorce, and learning how to deal with the pain that resulted. I want to share a resource with you that helped me do just that.
The response to Hope’s first post, along with a discussion that I experienced at a men’s small group this past week, have led me to go back to this most painful period of my life. Hope knows this well, I go back there a lot. Not in an unhealthy way, mind you. Not with regret, shame or guilt. I go back there to remind myself of what happened to a broken man, a man who needed to be broken to experience the things that were in store for him. If this is you, and at this moment you are feeling that pit of emptiness in your stomach, let me encourage you. Life is not over.
Allow me to quickly set the stage for you as a way to direct you to this resource that changed my life. My first wife informed me that she was done with our marriage and that she was moving out. Obviously, that statement doesn’t even come close to describing what led to this. As we all well know, it didn’t get to that point overnight. Regardless, I began walking through those very painful first days of separation, watching as my three sons (ages 3, 6, & 9 at the time) dealt with this in their own ways. Complicating matters is that I was in full-time ministry at the time, serving as the Associate Pastor at our church. The Senior Pastor felt the best thing was for me to stand in front of the congregation and explain what was going on. That Sunday is forever engrained into my memory. It was one of the most difficult days of my life as I looked out toward an auditorium of people, and spoke words that I never thought I would have to speak. Little did I know that my heavenly Father was getting ready to begin transforming my life.
Several days after this, opened my laptop to check my email, and received one of those e-blast emails that Christian booksellers use to advertise their latest deals. Normally, I deleted those emails before I even read them. The subject line of this one wouldn’t allow me to delete it. The title of the book was “When Your World Falls Apart” by David Jeremiah. The book is about how he dealt with his cancer diagnosis and treatment. I immediately clicked the link and bought the book. Inside those pages was some truth that was going to change the direction of my life.
In the coming months, I read this book twice. Once wasn’t enough. I can honestly say that besides the Bible, this book was one of the keys to helping me redirect the focus of my life. Here are a couple of excerpts:
“You find yourself in a crisis with no immediate resolution. You know this thing isn’t going away. You know that when you wake up tomorrow morning, and the morning after that, this matter will leap to the forefront of your mind as soon as you wipe the sleep from your eyes. Some problem has risen up like a great tidal wave from the depths, and it dominates your landscape. But if you’re like David, there is something behind that wave – or perhaps it is between you and the wave – and that thing is called hope.”
“Genuine praise, offered stubbornly in the face of adversity, makes no sense by any worldly calculation. That’s fine. There are deeper truths that don’t ‘make sense’ on the surface of things. God’s rules fly in the face of our logic. When we begin to praise God, not in response to prosperity, but in defiance to misfortune, we align ourselves with the deepest truths of the universe, the place where God dispenses deep wisdom and spiritual maturity. We unleash His victorious power in the world of pain and suffering. We create the environment where miracles occur.”
Since then, the book has been re-branded and reprinted. It is now called A Bend In The Road, which you will find is appropriate once you read the book. When people ask me how I made it through those days, I never recount it without mentioning this book and what was on those pages.
Maybe you are facing a separation or divorce. You’ve lost hope, you can’t see how life is going to go on from here. Don’t waste what God wants to do in your life through this period of time. Know that while there is plenty of finger-pointing going on and plenty of blame to go around, there is something inside of you that God wants to change. Go to counseling. Remove people from your life who bring negativity and feed into your pity. Learn to forgive. Learn to ask God to forgive you for the things you did to cause it, because no one is blameless. Spend $15 and buy this book. Read it and mark it up like I did. Put dates on the pages to remind you later of where you were when you read something that impacted you. In preparation for this post, I pulled my tattered copy off of the shelf. I looked at the dates and notes, and immediately, I was back “there”. Only now “there” means something much more to me than it did then.